I had a profound experience of Eucharist yesterday. I went to Mass for the first time at Brookdale Assisted Living on Union Street. Once a month, 9:00am every second Tuesday, our parish holds Mass there. It brings in residents and parishioners. It is a whole other experience than going to Mass in church. I think the differences renew the meaning of Eucharist.
The first reading was from the Book of Wisdom, 2:23 – 3:9. It ends with, “…grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.” There was certainly grace and mercy amidst our small gathering of holy ones, his elect.
After the bread and wine were also made holy, a beautiful thing happened. Because many of the participants weren’t mobile, everyone received where they were sitting. Even those that could stand, sat in solidarity with those that could not. Vito, the Mass Coordinator, and Father Bob went to each person. It reminded me of Christmas at our house. Each person takes a turn opening their gift: that way, everyone can enjoy the gift together whether they are opening or watching. Each person received the gift of Christ and we were all a part of it. Some could not hold the chalice; they were helped so they could partake. It was an intimate, simple sharing of Christ. Only the bare essentials were needed for Mass to take place. It was the holy people that made it Eucharist. I left feeling blessed, not for witnessing our faith in action but actually being a living part of it.
Something else that hit me was the people that were walking by as we celebrated. They were somehow a part of Mass too. This presence of Christ could not be held in the space. It spread outward. People walking by couldn’t help but peek in and wonder. Maybe they were touched by this celebration too. God cannot be contained.
Sometimes we get scared off by this word, “evangelization”. But I think evangelization happens when we bring our whole self to another and find Christ already there. That is what happened at this Mass. We found Christ in each other. We became one body of Christ, whether giving or receiving in Eucharist. It was the action of that Christ-sharing that made it a holy thing. The action moved outside of the walls of the room where we were. Here I am still talking about it and sharing with all of you.
I encourage anyone who is free for daily Mass to check out when they take place at our local, assisted living facilities. You should experience it for yourself.